Watch a 2012 movie called “The Impossible” and imagine yourself as the mother (which you’ll probably automatically do, even if you’re not a mother). Imagine yourself on a Christmas vacation at a beach resort, with your husband and three sons (5, 8 and 10). You’re all romping at the hotel pool, when, all of a sudden, an eerie silence settles over the place, followed by a thunderous roar and tidal wave, so wide, deep, tall and powerful, that it sweeps you all away in seconds.
Now imagine that you’re drowning and being harshly assaulted by this monumental rush of water, but somehow you come to the surface and see your 10-year-old son in the distance, also struggling to keep his head above the water.
I won’t tell you the rest of the movie, but it’s all based on the true story of a Spanish family–Maria and Quique Alvarez, and their sons Lucas, Tomas and Simon–who were visiting Thailand when the Indian Ocean tsunami hit in 2004. It’s a true story that you’ll have a hard time believing, but then again, no one in Hollywood is imaginative enough to even make up something like this.
As you watch what unfolds, you might start to believe in a higher power. I don’t want to make this a discussion about the existence of God, so define ‘higher power’ however you’d like. I guess you’d say it’s what causes The Impossible to Be Possible. Why a plane crashes, 154 passengers die and one baby lives. Why a devastating fire sweeps through the canyons of California, scores of homes are burned to the ground and a single flowering plant lives among the rubble and ashes. Why someone with a fatal disease lives for decades after diagnosis. Why some families are faced with seemingly endless tragedy and others enjoy nothing except splendid health, wealth and happiness. Whatever you call it–higher power, fate, luck, science or nature–it sure gets your attention.
Although Maria suffers through unimaginable circumstances, I almost wished I had experienced the same. Perhaps it sounds crazy, but I agree with wise guy, Frederich Nietzche, who said:
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”